The image of the beast

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 8:10 am    Post subject: The image of the beast Reply with quote

Steve (or anyone),

Can you please elaborate on the (partial) preterist view of the image made by those that dwelled on the land in 13:14? The next verse talks about this 'image' being given breath, speaking, and causing death.

You mention in your book 3 legitimate theories regarding the nature of the 2nd beast in that chapter, but you don't really show how they deal with (maybe they don't) this idea of the image of the beast. You have 1 paragraph on page 300 stating that they are 'difficult features to correlate with any action known to have occured in Israel.'

The description of this image seems a little too specific to 'simply refer to the Jews' general homage to Rome's authority'

Do you have a more specific opinion regarding the image of the beast? Do you think the answer to this is buried and archaeology may someday shed light on it. It seems to be a weakness in the preterist view of chapter 13.
Hemingway once said: 'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for'

I agree with the second part (se7en)
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iím not a Preterist or an Amillennialist. Iím more of a Historic Premill/Prewrather. I can give you my idea based on my perspective, which I donít think aligns with any of the wild dispensational/pretribber ideals. Near the end I'll even hazard a guess from a preterist view.
The image of the beast is related again to the purpose for which God created mankind. God made man in His image. God made angels to be message bearers. Some get the two confused, but I thought we should at least define the differences at the start.

The image of the beast is an anti-image of man like the Antichrist is to Christ. I think of it as a replacement image; the highest form of blasphemy towards God. We are meant to see this in juxtaposition to the 144,000 who bear Christís mark and harbor Godís image in chapter 14.

There are, in my opinion, a lot of problems with preterism, the least of which is forcing these images and symbols of Revelation to pass through a the bias that they must have already happened in the past. Of course futurists, do it too and it is best that we treat each other, (Christians with differing opinions) with patience and respect so that we can try to understand each otherís take or bias.

Personally, I think, that preterism, partial or whatever, gets myopic on historical fulfillment and misses certain overarching teachings in the Bible still available to a futurist. You might consider reading my posts on Zechariah 14. But I see this image of the beast related to Danielís image of chapter 2 and tied into to a humanism that sprouts from the Babylon/Tower of Babylon source.

Did you know that when King Nebbie heard that he was the gold head in Dan. 2 that he immediately set out to build a complete statue that represented the fullness of human hubris represented by the number 60? Babylonian math is based on a base 60. 60 represents a full measure. Today, we still measure time and space off of Babylonian standards; 60 seconds, 60 minutes, 6x60 degrees in a circle. Surveyors divide out land using bearings measured in degrees broken down by 60s. It has been hypothesized by creationists, that before the Flood, the solar year was exactly 360 days, hence the origin of the circle. God even equates 5 months with 150 days in the passage on the Flood in Genesis. Last yearís devastating tsunami in Indonesia actually changed the rotation of the earth changing the length of our day by a fraction of a second! Itís not hard to imagine how the global devastation of the Flood could have changed out solar year to be measured out into 365.24 days. The idea of 6 for man and 60 as a base for math (which man was able to discover by Godís design) represent complete units and bases that the ancients were very familiar with. Our judgment is a bit clouded on the matter these days because we rely to heavily on the base 10 math system.

All this to say that the image king Nebbie built was purposefully meant to represent in the clearest hubris the whole statue of Daniel 2. It was king Nebbieís kingdom forever and no other. It was his image you were to acknowledge and worship. And it all occurred in Babylon, built on the site of the Tower of Babel, the location of the first rebellion of mankind in the post-flood era. All these images, symbols, events and places are meant to play off each other and represent a condition of manís heart as seen in Revelation with Mystery Babylon, and a spiritual harlotry that goes back to the Tower of Babel.

Back then, men were also interested in throwing off Godís ďimageĒ and building a stairway to Heaven for themselves. But what did God do? He separated mankind and fragmented them into the nations we know today. But now think a moment like a futurist and think about what God said about the global rebellion of united mankind back in Genesis.

Gen 11:6 And the LORD said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

Do you think that Godís curse will be permanent? Will mankind ever overcome Godís curse of fragmentation? Look at the world around yourself. The inevitable answer is ďyesĒ. Technology brings the world closer everyday. English is spoken by over a billion people and growing as computer pervade the globe. Mankind will one day be one again whether a preterist, futurist, idealist or historist likes it or not. Ultimately this is what I see represented by the image of the beast and the references to Babylon as representing the world of mankind in general.
I think Rev. 16:19 makes a good case of the definition of mystery Babylon as the cities of the nations and that Rev. chapter 17 to 18 make a compelling parallel to Isaiah 24ís complete and seven-fold fall of the earth, both of which will never rise again.

Of course, I understand that Babylon can refer to just that, or be a code name for Rome or Jerusalem and such. But I have trouble ignoring patterns when I see them. Think of the portrayal of ďGreat BabylonĒ in Revelation and what Iíve said of king Nebbie and what he said in Daniel 4:30. As a futurist/Historic-Premill /prewrather, I see the rebellion/pride of Babylon and the Tower of Babel as bookend that define this age of mankind. It started off in global rebellion and this age will end when it happens again in the future.

Iím curious myself which way a preterist would understand it. I would hazard a guess at emperor worship through their statues or the Olympic Pantheon and that all these other things about breathing life into it and speaking are just images we can spiritualize into some higher meaning relevant to the first century Christians, specifically those in the seven churches. Perhaps it represents speaking for the emporer and his glory instead of spreading the Gospel. Iíd be more interested in the Preterist take on why these specific seven churches in Revelation. Why did Jesus leave out Collosee, where Paul sent the letter of Colossians to? The city is only a dayís journey from Laodecia. And really, shouldnít a letter at least have been directed to the Jerusalem church?
Always willing to listen and consider by the grace of God,
Cameron Fultz
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always found the specific symbolism of the "image of the beast" to be difficult. Like Cameron, I have long suspected that it has some connection with Nebuchadnezzar's image, but that connection is not as tight or obvious as I wish it were. The futurists seem to have the least trouble with this image, since they can simply say that it is a literal, future phenomenon, if they wish...and who could disprove them?

That is the one strength (and as near as I can tell, the only strength) of the futurist approach: since anything might happen in the unforeseen future, no one can prove that their literal understanding of the visions in Revelation will not someday materialize. They are then relieved of any burden to decipher difficult symbolism. While this makes their job easier, it in no way establishes their point of view as correct, nor proves that the visions were actually intended to be understood literally.

I have not heard a very compelling explanation of this "image of the beast" from a preterist point of view. But then, I am not a preterist, but an idealist, in my understanding of this section of Revelation (chapters 10 through 13). Even the idealist view does not have an entirely satisfying explanation of this particular symbol, but the idealist is prepared to disengage the details of the imagery from the interpretation more completely than is the case with the other approaches.

Hence, the entire passage, Revelation 13:11-18 (in which we find the discussion of the image of the beast) may be summarized by the idealist as merely an elaborate picture declaring that the non-Christian world follows false religions (the second beast) as well as false political systems (the first beast)--and that these two beasts form something of a partnership, under Satan, to oppose the kingdom of Christ.

This is not to say that idealists have nothing more than this to say about the details of the passage. Some commentators say more than do others. I am simply saying that the idealist view is capable of ignoring details more than do the other approaches, simply in favor of recognizing that the content of the vision is intended for the purpose of making a profound impression upon the mind without intending a detailed point-by-point correspondence.

As for the questions raised by Cameron in his final paragraph, the choice of the seven churches to be the official recipients of the Revelation epistle may be based upon the needs of the specific congregations. We know of at least ten churches (not just seven) existing in Asia at that time. In addition to the seven addressed by name in this epistle, there were churches at Colosse, Troas and Hierapolis. Why any of these were omitted in favor of the ones selected is anyone's guess.

Given the symbolic nature of the number seven ("completeness"), however, the delimitation to seven churches may have been meant to convey the idea of "the whole church" or "all churches." It is also possible, of course, that these seven churches were simply the ones that had problems which Christ chose to address, while the others did not have such problems. The question of why Colosse (or any other church) was not addressed in this epistle is the same as the question (for example) of why Paul did not address any epistles to the churches in Berea or Athens.

The question why a letter (especially this letter) was not addressed to Jerusalem is a very good one. If Revelation deals with the immanent destruction of Jerusalem, in AD 70, then wouldn't Jerusalem's Christians be the ones, above all others, who needed to be apprised of this?

I think that the Jerusalem Christians had, in fact, already, long before, been thoroughly warned about this event, when Jesus was on earth (e.g., Luke 19:41-44/ 21:6, 20-24/ 23:28-31). The message to them did not need to be repeated, since Jesus had even mentioned the time-frame of the fulfillment of these predictions (Luke 21:32).

The Book of Revelation was apparently Christ's expanded version of the Olivet Discourse, given to the Gentile churches, who would also have reason to be concerned with the judment upon the Jews (their persecutors--Rev.2:9; 3:9), the passing of the old order and the establishment of the new.

The region of Asia may have been selected simply because that was the region with which John was personally associated, since his home was in Ephesus.

The questions raised in this thread are not easy (and may, perhaps, even be impossible) to answer with certainty. However, these are the answers that commend themselves to my limited understanding.
In Jesus,
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both for your thoughtful replies
Hemingway once said: 'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for'

I agree with the second part (se7en)
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